Budget Botox on the High Street? “You get what you pay for!”

My Google Alerts today were full of the news that Superdrug are launching anti-wrinkle treatments, Dermaroller and Dermal Fillers.

Yes, you heard it right: Superdrug…, the cheap-as-chips budget-beauty-store-come-chemists, will be offering up injectables alongside your lunch break Meal Deal.

The fact that the team here at Aurora Clinics (undoubtedly like staff at Cosmetic Surgery Centres nationwide) met this news with wide-eyed horror speaks volumes.

Our reaction has nothing to do with fear of healthy competition. Quite simply, we are better placed than the average consumer to understand the margin for error with treatments like Dermaroller, Botox and Fillers.

We are appalled at what results may follow when a procedure which should be well-researched, considered, discussed at length during a consultation with a knowledgeable Practitioner, tailored to each patient’s’ individual needs (physically and medically), recorded, reviewed, followed up and adjusted each time they return instead becomes taken so lightly that clients can merely step in off the street and cram it into their lunch break before rushing back before the boss notices.

A treatment like Dermaroller, whilst incredibly effective for lines, stretchmarks and acne scarring when administered by a trained Aesthetic Practitioner, is still a Clinical Needling technique: many patients experience quite some degree of redness after this procedure, hardly making it suitable for lunch-time treatment, particularly if patients expect to return immediately to work unnoticed!

The fact that Clinical procedures like these are being offered alongside “beauty salon” treatments like eyebrow threading, facials and ear piercing just adds to the alarm bells that this really isn’’t being taken seriously enough.

Superdrug plans to trial the scheme with only two stores initially (Kensington, West London, and Milton Keynes) offering the procedures from “Private Treatment Rooms” set up downstairs in the main store. Hardly the desired Clinical location for such treatments, but they are admittedly using medically qualified professionals: doctors and dentists from established firm Cosmedoctor.

This company has already aligned themselves with cut-price procedures: as they state in their blog about the move to Superdrug:

“As a company we feel our brand is ready for a high street location and as our treatments are affordably priced it ties in very well with the Superdrug brand.”

The problem, as all good Cosmetic Surgeons will confirm, is that you really do get what you pay for with any form of Cosmetic Surgery, be it surgical or non-surgical.

Not only do the standards of results achieved with Botox and Fillers vary greatly between Aesthetic Practitioners, you may actually be getting less product (therefore less effective or long-lasting treatment) for your money.

There is not a large margin for profit in anti-wrinkle injections, so in order for Superdrug to make any profit (which they obviously want!) product will have to be used sparingly.

You also pay for your Practitioner’’s time: of course a 10-minute consultation is going to cost less than a thorough half-hour analysis, but as Aurora’’s Mr Richards emphasizes, this process really is vital:

“It is important that your Practitioner knows your full medical history, has taken the time to analyse your face and how your muscles work to get a good feel for which lines and wrinkles need treating, debriefs you fully about what the treatment involves and the complications that can occur, so that you know exactly what you are having done. And the aftercare is just as important as the treatment itself.”“

“The fact that people think you can just walk in on your lunch break for anti-ageing treatment shows that they have not really “got” what Botox is about””,  Sue Addison, Aurora’’s Head of Business Operations, worries; “”it’’s not a buy-it-off-the-shelf commodity, like a can of baked beans, to be taken lightly! There are so many factors, so many potential anomalies to consider; that takes time and an experienced professional”.”

So yes, Superdrug may soon be luring you in with promises of zapping your wrinkles away for as little as £145 per area of the face: but think really carefully.

Of all the areas of your appearance to skimp on, is something so important as your health and so visible as your face really the one that you want to compromise?